|Indian postal stamp. iStampGallery.Com|
|New Jerusalem church, Thrangampadi. Wikipedia|
Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg has taken the credit of being the first Protestant Missionary and first Royal Missionary from Denmark to India and his mission was to spread the Gospel of Love as taught by Jesus Christ among the natives. The renovation cost of the church ran more than Rs.70 lakhs and particular care was taken not to disturb the heritage value of the first place of Protestant Christian worship in India. The two-day event of tercentenary of `Tranquebar Mission was in memory of the arrival of Ziegenbalg. This re-dedication function organized by the Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church (TELC) was attended by a hundreds of delegates from several countries including Germany, United States, France, Netherlands, etc.
Ziegenbalg did a few things that won the admiration of the locals and others. Though he landed in India with a view to propagating Christianity, he took keen interest in the language spoken here - "Tamil" (One of the six classical languages in the world; well- advanced and one of the oldest too) and gained considerable mastery over it. Initially, he learned Tamil along with children in a school there. Besides, Ziegenbalg set up the first ever printing press in India at Tranquebar and published books related to the Tamil language and Indian religion and culture. The New Testament translated into Tamil by him (1715) and the famous church the New Jerusalem Church that he and other missionary built in 1718 stand as a great monument to him. Based on his advice Tamil studies were introduced in 1711 in the Martin Luther University in Halle. He vociferously gave much emphasis on woman's education. Way back in 1707 itself he introduced Tamil Seminary and made it easy for the people to understand the contents in Bible and related stuff. Considering his hard work and selfless service on the soils of Thrangambadi, the local people, cutting across religion and caste, would like to have a Manimantapam (memorial hall) in honor of of Ziegenbalg.
|Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg, Thrangampadi. thebluedrive|
The foreign delegates held a conference in July 2006 and released a souvenir, containing a hand-written Bible and several booklets on the services rendered by Ziegenbalg .